From the February 2011 issue of Claims Magazine •Subscribe!

Get Noticed From Behind the Desk

Strides Toward Career Enhancement and Success

Adjusters can do much to get the attention of management but should not overlook the more obvious avenues for success. For starters, many managers agree that one simple way adjusters can position themselves for growth is by doing the job. This can refer to, in part, prompt and fair claim resolution, effective time management, excellent customer service, and cultivating teamwork.

While optimizing the day-to-day functions of the job, an adjuster can take numerous other measures to enhance his or her ability to get noticed in a positive way. Following are other suggestions for adjusters presented in no particular order:

Be proactive. Jay Costello, CPCU, Casualty Unit Leader at Peerless Insurance, says that taking a proactive approach to recognize and resolve a customer issue before it becomes a problem can set one adjuster apart from another. This means providing thorough answers to policyholder questions and returning their calls in a timely manner.

Take time to invest in yourself. Achieving professional designations—such as AIC, CPCU, and so on—can help demonstrate an ongoing dedication to professionalism. In addition, keep technical skills up-to-date and apply these skills to the job. One example might be an adjuster who expands his or her knowledge of spreadsheets in order to document monthly progress.

Think critically. Robie Baker, National Training Manager at Esurance, puts great stock in honing critical thinking skills. “Critical thinkers recognize the small fact difference, injury difference, venue difference, and so on from one claim to another,” he said. “They figure out the best course of action accordingly. As a manager, there is a degree of comfort in knowing that a skilled adjuster is managing a desk. However, there is one overriding quality that has always impressed me the most.....can I trust how the adjuster thinks through the issues on a file?” Can you identify anomalies on a claim and then logically follow through?

Ask questions. Being unafraid to ask questions after exploring answers first is an excellent skill, according to Kenya Owens, a claims specialist at Chartis Insurance. While in management, she has observed that a lot of adjusters just want the answers, yet need to develop a thought process as to how they arrived at their liability or coverage decisions.  Be sure to exhaust all areas where you might locate your answer before approaching the manager, and then be prepared to show what efforts you made to find the answer.

Consider Volunteer Opportunities. Volunteering within (or external to) the organization can expose you to people outside of your comfort zone and lead to new opportunities and recognition. Does your company have a safety or other committee that interests you? Various department members usually comprise such committees. Is there a volunteer opportunity in the community where your skills could be used and developed further?

Go the extra mile. Especially in investigations, it is crucial that claim professionals explore all possible sources of information, says Safeco Unit Leader Valerie Kalista. “I would definitely say that ‘going deep’ on investigating issues that could make a huge difference to the actual final payment of the claim,” she said. “Although the initiative and time this requires does not always offer an immediate award to claim handlers, it is the right thing to do both for their development, and that of the company and customer.” Have you explored social networking sites as potential investigative tools and to you know the pertinent laws and regulations to doing so?

Actively participate in the group. Don’t merely attend meetings; participate in them by sharing your viewpoint(s). Part of being in a leadership role is refining your ability to communicate effectively. So the next time you feel pressure to echo the sentiments of others, consider your opinion and don’t be afraid to share it.

As a claims adjuster, you have a very interesting job. On any given day, you have opportunities to interact with all kinds of people, to investigate claims, to learn new information, write reports, and negotiate with colleagues. While doing so, you must meet legal and corporate requirements without exception. Is the job demanding? It can be. Is it rewarding? It can be. All of this depends on your perspective, along with your ability to make this more than just a job, but rather a career with boundless possibilities for true success and advancement.

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